Oh, those fabulous, vile vittles. Gut health goals!

As a kid, on my walk home from the grocery store, I’d snug that paper bag close and draw it up close to my chin. It was that loaf of bread that mom told me to purchase and the bagger had, thankfully, placed at the top of the bag enticing me to do so. On a warm summer day, the sun would encourage that just baked smell to permeate my nostrils, so I’d often walk along with my nose as close to that loaf as I could. I’d then begin my taste for a warm dough ball that I would make from a slice of bread as soon as I arrived home. Bread, was my weakness. As was pasta and lasagna. It was not uncommon for me to eat a half a loaf of bread to make cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast for myself. Make a loaf of garlic bread, and I might not have felt compelled to share. Today, it still sounds delicious, but for a mere second or two. When my brain suddenly drops that memory of what my body feels like after partaking in it, that desire for a bite dissolves.

I do love food. But I have always tried to balance my wants with my needs. Gaining weight was a huge reason for this, but my slow digestive system was the other.

When I was first diagnosed with digestive issues, I was told I had a “slow system”. In other words, I didn’t poop often. In fact, I could go 2 weeks without having a bowel movement. Just imagine all those toxins building up in my system. Ick! In my late 20’s, the term irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was used. At that time, I was dealing mainly with constipation, bloating, headaches, and lower body pain. In 2001, I took a fall at work. A year later, after not completely becoming rid of pain in my shoulder and neck, my worker’s comp doctor started treating me with a prescription medication. I’ll spare all the attempts made to rid me of the pain, but let’s just say the med list became longer each time I had an appointment.

A year later, I was not sleeping more than 2-4 hours a night and I had lost so much weight the doctor warned me about losing more. But the medications I was on made the thought of food nauseating. Most days I sat on the couch in so much pain I couldn’t bear to make myself get up. The pain was unbearable and I had no will to continue life.

In 2003, I had had enough. The doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and myfofascial pain syndrome, told me to take my pills, and get a job. His encouragement was “you are going to have pain for the rest of your life, but you won’t end up a wheel chair.” I left in tears and swore I would not continue on the path he and prescription pills had me doomed to take.

For the next 10 years, I researched. I added supplements to my diet and I did everything I could to keep the weight off since several doctors warned me of added pain if I added weight. I did begin to improve, but I still didn’t have my life back. By 2013, I was plagued with diarrhea 3 to 4 times a month. I was given a prescription to use when the loose stool came on, but then it would bind me up. I once again, tweaked my diet. I became gluten free, reduced my sugar intake further, and started looking further into more supplements. Gut health is important, and I was convinced of that. Things were becoming bleaker, as I started having all over chronic body pain, migraines made visits, and I started becoming plagued with vertigo. I also hated food. My stomach felt like it was always filed with acid. Everything tasted horrible and I had the taste of burnt ashes on my tongue. I had been tweaking my diet trying to get control of my issues. But I couldn’t figure out what was causing all of this sickness in me. After being told nitrates might be causing my vertigo, I avoided foods containing it. The vertigo ceased. The gluten free diet started to improve my digestive system, and I began having bowel movements almost daily. I was slowly peeling back the smelly onion layers of issues, but I had a long way to go.

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The three products that are bringing me back to a life desired.

In the middle of last year, I hit a breaking point. My energy levels had me moving at crawl, my pain was pushing to a level that I felt my brain was becoming numb, and it took everything I could do to muster up the strength to push through the day. Every Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, my body forced me to stop and try to recuperate from the week. Days were becoming a blur filled with pain. My brain was exhausted from the “fake it til you make it” regimen I was putting myself through. I just wanted to sleep so I didn’t have to feel the pain. But the pain kept me from sleeping.

I was forced to do something that breaks my heart to this very moment. I had to stop taking care of my grandsons during the day. I had to put myself first, although “my self” wanted to be with them. It was during this time, Plexus made an appearance. Skeptical, but desperate, I looked at the premise and ingredients behind their goal to improve gut health and maintain healthy sugar levels. All of the information I found pointed to the deterioration I felt was occurring in my body for years. Medications taken as a child, poor food choices starting as a teenager, medications taken after the fall, and toxins building up after years of constipation and likely also from the environment, had burdened my body to place where it could not heal itself. I was already taking many of the vitamins and minerals in the Plexus products, but I was certainly not schooled in knowing which ones might further promote how another one works within my body. Perhaps they had the right formula that I was seeking. Well, at least that was my skeptical hope.

I’m not sure how to round up this post, as this journey is still a work in progress. But I can give the facts as to where things seem to be progressing:

Decreased pain

Increased energy

Improved digestion

Decreased inflammation

Improved sleep

Increased hope

There are so many other gears and pulleys that moved me away from a healthy life and body and then back to where I am now that aren’t shared here. But, I guess if you follow along, they will slowly be revealed. And, I hope as I journey forward, more answers will be uncovered. And with that willpower to keep seeking,trying and sharing, more well power.

Be well!

A (3rd) shift in life and mindset during stay at home orders.

Unprecedented times. How many times have you heard that lately? But it is true. Most of the generations today have never lived through such trying times of uncertainty and social isolation. And I believe most of us are digging deep and analyzing how we chose and need to live life now compared to how life was pre-Covid19. It’s only natural to compare what once was to what we are currently living through. There is a huge sense of loss on many levels at this time.

I have to admit, at the start of this, I was not in the least filled with dread or concern with being told to shelter in place. I looked at it as my responsibility to work toward the common good of all. I certainly didn’t want to put my family in harms away, nor did I want to be part of a chain that might possibly transmit the virus to others. I tried to look at it as “life as usual”, with just a little tweaking.

I have been doing a lot of tweaking and self evaluation prior to all of this. At the end of last year, I was no longer taking care of grandsons. I had, at that time, decided I needed to look more at my health issues and put my entire focus on that. It was a large part of why I could no longer physically keep caring for them. Pain, inflammation, and digestive issues had taken over too much of my life. With all the extra time on my hands, I wanted to utilize it for a positive change. Admittedly it was mentally difficult to not have a purpose. To place all the focus on myself seemed selfish. I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually making a crucial health choice and that it would ultimately be important for me to do so as to enjoy traveling with my husband, be physically able to play with grandsons, and live out all the other nuances I had desired to have in my life. I was tired of the daily doldrums and disappointments of deciding what I had to eliminate from each day in order to push through it or to take part in any small things that brought me joy. It was time to tackle and eradicate the issues that were forcing me to make these upsetting and mentally debilitating choices.

When my health issues came to boiling point about 16 years ago, I took it as a sign that I had to slow down. I had to not be that “yes” person who took on more than I could cope with because I would become a disappoint. I used it as a wake up call. I knew I needed to slow down, but it wasn’t until a critical point that I actually took action. Despite all I have tried, I’ve not overcome all the issues that are depleting parts of my life. My second wake up call was that moment I had to tell my son I could no longer take care of the his boy in a way I felt they weren’t being affected. I weep now at the memory of that confession to myself that I couldn’t carry on with something that brought me such joy. My life was being controlled by an internal monster. I felt had lost everything that defined me because of it.

Two months into tying to regain myself and my life, I know I still wasn’t being honest with myself in what I truly needed to be doing and that I still wasn’t giving it enough. I was mentally giving up and allowing the pain to consume me. I felt lost and wasn’t sure where to turn. Some of it was because I was mourning the loss of time with the grandsons. I was trying to get more sleep as I often only slept only 4 to six hours a night. I was getting more sleep, but it was taking me 10 to 12 hours to get the needed 8. I did remain focused on eating right and tried to get some sort of physical workout when pain levels weren’t soaring. However, mentally I was drowning and the pain was winning yet again. I remained in the “fake it till you make it” mode and throwing on a convincing smile.

Doctor after doctor have warned me about not putting on weight as it would exacerbate the pain I was already experiencing. I knew I had to move more in order to keep the pounds at bay, despite how much it hurt. Unfortunately, hitting my mid-50’s, the number on the scales was creeping up. My husband and I were taking walks, albeit not as long as I had hoped. It was just so painful to move. And I was walking indoors in order to keep moving and was doing yoga, although at times that was even difficult. Trying to refocus through Mel Robbins program Best Decade Ever helped pushed me through the harder days and to remain hopeful for a better future despite the pain. It was during this time a high school friend who I had been chatting via IM with about supplements that help reduce pain, told me about a product another mutual high school friend was using. Being a skeptic, I merely stalked her Facebook page for awhile until I finally got up the nerve to comment. When she reached out to me, I, with my doubt in tow, let her explain the premise behind the products. A few weeks later, I decided to take her up on a three day trial. From there, I decided the products were worth a 3 month trial.

I was just at my third month of using the Plexus products, when the stay at home order was enforced. It was then that I felt this mental push to up the ante. Life once again, was directing me to step back. I was feeling the positive effects of taking them, but I was still saying quite ugly things to myself. Negative talk can take you down a deep rabbit hole both mentally and physically. So, while I was further losing myself, the world seemed to spinning into an unknown dimension. It took my thoughts back to 911, when our nation made a collective gasp and we all had a mutual understanding, empathy, and alarm for the suffering that was occurring. This seemingly unwieldy situation is happening on a global scale. This, this overwhelming lack of control, has been my third wake up call. I had to gain some control over this world of chaos within my personal space.

I have to admit this ability to cope waxes and wanes. However, I’m sure I am one among billions who are feeling the mental strain. But this third, and deeply immense wake up call, has brought me further into seeking positive change. I have a long way before I feel I am capable of eliminating my mental struggle. I’m still questioning my ability, but not my determination. I am walking more. I’m resisting the need to stress eat. I meet my insecurities at the yoga mat at least 5 days a week. And I am taking advantage of the plethora of free programs, videos, and blogs that encourage self discovery and self love. I’m tweaking my Plexus products to get the best results for my body and needs. And each night I read at least 15 minutes in order to remove any negative thoughts of the day. I’m not sure what will bring me to the edge of my best health yet. But, with the uncertainty of what we are currently living in, I do know I want more than just a mediocre existence. And while being asked to shelter in place, I feel the need to start building something that will be better when we come out on the other side of this.

I’m also hoping the world also emerges more peace-filled and whole.

Mighty magnesium

Did you know that magnesium deficiency is common in the US general population? Did you know that such a deficiency can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps and contractions, numbness and tingling, and abnormal heart rhythms, just to name a few? Did you know that diseases such as Crohn’s and chronic diarrhea can lead to such a deficiency? And, did you know that has been found those with fibromyalgia are often found to have this deficiency?

I could spew all sorts of medical data about magnesium and diet, but since I am certainly no medical expert, I will explain what I have found with it in my own experience. If you want a bit more info about magnesium here’s a place to start: National Institutes of Health

As I mentioned, a magnesium deficiency can become an issue if you deal with chronic diarrhea. For years I was plagued with constipation and was diagnosed with IBS/C (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation). But within a few years of my fibromyalgia diagnosis, things were spiraling out of control. I was dealing with diarrhea 3 or 4 times a month. I had been tweaking my diet for years to maintain my IBS, but suddenly I couldn’t get control over this newest issue.

Within that time period, chronic vertigo and migraines ensued. My body pain was becoming deeper, with new pain symptoms emerging. Over the next couple years, I would tick of new fibro issues one by one, until my body and mind were reeling out of control. From the onset of my diagnosis, and especially during that time, I was constantly researching ways to decrease my symptoms. The benefits of magnesium for my pain kept coming up over and over. And I have taken it for years now.

I didn’t only rely on supplements, I tried to introduce magnesium into my diet as much as possible. Spinach was one of my favorites. I’d blend it into my morning smoothie and mix it into my salads. Despite all my efforts, I couldn’t eliminate these bouts of loose stool.

I often realized that some foods would exacerbate it. Especially when I had accidentally taken in too much gluten. (something I had eliminated early on in my fibro diagnosis) I also did an elimination diet called FODMAP and found that there were other foods that were causing me issues. But honestly, I was finding this ridiculous!

Here are some odd things I found…

I couldn’t eat mushrooms. I’d be running to the bathroom within an hour.

Same thing with celery! What? I’d finally just started eating it as it was one of those things as a did that I detested. But, what was this healthy good acting as if it was a virus once it entered my digestive tract?

I could only eat 3 pieces of broccoli. Yep, 3. Eat 4, and the above issues would occur.

That is what the bulk of what this diet brought to light; what I couldn’t eat and what was the limit of some foods that my system could tolerate. The list just kept growing. I was exasperated and stopped the diet.

I just couldn’t keep on like this. I was eliminating almost all the foods on the pyramid. I was once told by a nutritionist that I wasn’t eating enough grains. I explained that I ate those I could, but with my gluten sensitivity, I don’t eat breads and such. He said, “there are plenty of gluten free items on the market”. Yep, and a lot of them are processed! I refused to eat those. And even gluten free oats make me bloat and miserable.

So, here’s the good thing about magnesium, it helps keep the bowel regular. Now, I have been regular for years, so you’d think that wouldn’t play a part in my issue, right? Wrong! And that would just make my bouts of diarrhea occur more often, right? Wrong! At least, I have not found this to be the case. I mean, is having chronic diarrhea regular?

You see I started taking Plexus BioCleanse back in December 2019. Since then, I have eaten as many as 3 stalks of celery in one sitting. I can eat more than 3 pieces of broccoli (I love it in stir fry). And I have been able to eat foods with small amounts of gluten. However, I have decided that although I don’t get the bowels issues with small amounts of gluten, it did cause skin issues and mouth sores. So those are staying off the (food) table for now.

So, why is this working? My take on it: gut health. I have felt for years that my issues have come from gut issues. And those issues stem from a build of toxins due to the years of constipation, past prescriptions I was using, and stress. Good gut bacteria is essential and mine has been losing the battle for years. My body was becoming sicker and no matter how much diet change I tried and probiotics I took, my gut health was barely improving. I’ve been at this for 15 years and have appeared to be at the “as good as it gets” level for the past year. But I am not willing to accept that level. That is my reason for trying this path of Plexus.

The BioCleanse makes sense for what my body has been telling me for years. I guess we are not only what we eat, but also what we do or do not shit. 😉

As I said before, I am not part of the medical field, so don’t take what I say as scientific proof. But, I do have daily personal experience. And I am an expert in what my body as been through and is going through. So, why do I think this is working? Bio Cleanse helps eliminate the harmful microbes that I believe may have not been allowing all those probiotics that I have been taking over the past few years take affect. My gut just wasn’t able to properly digest all those foods, saw them as foreign toxic issue, and eliminated them out by the means of emergency trips to the bathroom. And guess what, those with Chron’s and chronic diarrhea tend to be deficient in magnesium. And magnesium is said to be a deficiency that causes some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. .

Here is the Plexus description of what Bio Cleanse does:

Bio Cleanse is a specially formulated, gentle formula that
contains a unique combination of magnesium and bioflavonoids
that helps you manage those days when you feel unbalanced
and uncomfortable. Magnesium ions draw water into the
intestine, increasing fluidity and essentially having a gentle
stimulation effect. This helps remove unnecessary or harmful
• Helps cleanse the gastrointestinal tract*
• Reduces gas, bloating, and discomfort*
• Helps promote regularity*
• Helps remove harmful microbes and substances*
• Relieves occasional constipation*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Along with the help of ProBio5, my gut feels as if it is being filled with good stuff. My bloating has decreased and I have had only one day of bathroom emergency in the past month and a half. The appears the magnesium in the BioCleanse has helped to also decrease the tingling and numbness I experience. Especially in my arms. I normally have this every morning and night, and can experience it throughout the night. To date, I have only experienced one morning (beginning about 3 weeks into my Plexus regimen) of tingling and twice during the day.

These are slight, but very promising changes. And they are a very welcome stepping stone in gaining some daily physical and mental well power!